Mei Lanfang Beijing Opera Troupe Performance Tour in Europe & North America-1st Station

In December 2017, the Mei Lanfang Beijing Opera Troupe came to Vancouver for several performances of the classic oriental opera.

★ Mei Lanfang Beijing Opera Troupe, the most prestigious Beijing Opera troupe in China

★ Led by the famous Beijing Opera maestro Mr. Shaolan Ye

★ Directed by Mr. Hongtu Li

★ Composed of 70 talented actors and actresses

★ 3 of the 9 starring actors/actresses, classical Beijing operas to be shown

The troupe included 70 actors and actresses from the Jingju Company of Beijing led by Hongtu Li, Qiang Zhu, Junjie Chen, Wei Guo, Shengcun Han, Yanzhong Huang, Xiaoxuan Dou, Yu Chen, Boxue Huang, Enxu Zhou, Yangyang Cao, Qingsong Zhang, Yueling Wang ,Xueqing Wang, and many other talented performers, This lineup of talent was unprecedented for overseas performances,

Art Director
Mr. Shaolan Ye ,the famous Beijing Opera performing artist of the school of “Ye”, has won the First Drama Plum Blossom Prize,  was Fulbright International Scholar in 1986, and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999 by the American Citizens of Chinese Origin Arts Center.

Troupe Leader

Hong Tu Li, famous Beijing Opera performing artist and national first-level actor, has earned the title of most prestigious actor for the young man's role in China.  He is the  director and leading artist of Mei Lanfang Beijing Opera Troupe and is known as one of the nine starring actors/actresses in Beijing Jingju Theatre. Hong Tu Li is the winner of Drama Plum Blossom Prize and Lifetime Achievement Award as the Most Outstanding Asian Artist.  In addition, he is the winner of the lifetime achievement award for most outstanding artist in Asia, the Central Committee of the Chinese peasant workers' Democratic Party, and the representative of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress.

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Opera 1: The Legend of Lady White Snake

performed at the Queen Elizabeth Theare, Vancouver - December 2017

Synopsis 

Lady White Snake, also known as Legend of the White Snake, is a well-known Chinese folktale handed down through oral tradition.  This legend is considered one of China's Four Great Folktales.  A romance story, with Bai Suzhen and Xu Xian being genuinely in love with each other even though their relationship is forbidden by the laws of nature.

Opera 2: Farewell to My Concubine

performed at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver - December 2017
Synopsis 

At the end of the Qin Dynasty about 2,200 years ago, the nations of Chu and Han waged war over control of the entire country.  Xiang Yu's troops suffer several major defeats and when he hears his own Chu soldiers singing all around him at night, he suspects that his army has already surrendered to the Han.  His concubine performs the sword dance in his tent and kills herself with the sword at the end of the dance.  The Chu army is crushed in the last battle and Xiang Yu kills himself rather than living with the shame of having led countless soldiers to their deaths.

Opera 3: The Autumn River

performed at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver - December 2017

Synopsis

The Autumn River is one act from the Chinese opera entitled The Story of Jade Hairpin.   Featuring mainly singing and acting, this opera is about a Budhist nun who falls in love with a scholar passing by her nunnery.  This act focuses on the story between the nun and a boatman in a tone that is both serious and facetious.  The prop-free performance of the boatman and the nun on a sailing ship fully demonstrates the high level of achievement by the Beijing Opera, which has been passed down for 1,000 years.

Opera 4: Havoc in Heaven

performed at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver - December 2017

Synopsis   

This story originates from one of the four classical novels in China, entitled Journey to the West.  The Monkey King Sun Wukong, the Great Sage Equaling Heaven, is enraged that the Queen Mother does not invite him to her Festival of Immortal Peaches.  He steals some of the peaches, wine and golden elixir before returning to the Flower and Fruit Mountain, where he defeats the Celestial Emperor's celestial troupe that sought to capture him.

Opera 5: Crossroads

performed at the Molson Canadian Theatre at Hard Rock Casino, Coquitlam - December 2017

Synopsis  

During the Song Dynasty, General Jiao Zan was exiled to Shamen Island because he had killed a traitorous minister.  The Marshal dispatched General Ren Tanghui to secretly protect him.  Jiao and Ren stay at the same inn but in separate rooms.  The inn's owner mistakenly thinks Ren will attempt to murder Jiao.  In the darkness, the innkeeper fights with Ren but during the struggle, Jiao shows up to clear up the misunderstanding.

Opera 6: The Banquet

performed at the Molson Canadian Theatre at Hard Rock Casino, Coquitlam - December 2017

Synopsis   

Originating from The Romance of Three Kingdoms, one of the four famous classical novels in China, the story is one act of Chain Strategems in the book.  Ms. Diao Chan had been secretly betrothed to Lu Bu, but also offered to Dong Zhou.  As the story unfolds, Ms. Diao Chan turned Dong and Lu against each other by inciting jealousy and suspicion between them.

Opera 7: The Orphan of Zhao

performed at the Bell Performing Arts Centre, Surrey - December 2017

Synopsis  

During the Spring and Autumn Period of China's history (8th century BC - 5th century BC), wars broke out between several different kingdoms.  Duke Ling was a despot who was influenced by a treacherous general to exterminate the entire family of his faithful minister Zhao Dun.  The only one who escaped was Zhao's daughter-in-law, who gave birth to a son. The boy was rescued in disguise, but the general ordered all infants born on that day to be killed.  The boy's rescuer offered his own son to be killed in order to save all infants in the state.  When the boy was grown, the entire story was finally revealed and the general killed in a final act of revenge. 

Opera 8: Lu Bu and Diao Chan

performed at the Royal Theatre, Victoria - January 2018

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Synopsis

Set near the end of the Han dynasty in China, Dong Zhuo gains increasing power as part of his plot to usurp the throne.  His valiant adopted son Lu Bu feels obligated to help carry out his father's plans.  Wang Yun, Minister of the People, plans to eliminate Dong Zhuo for the country's good, but he cannot think of a good strategy.  Ms. Diao Chan, a beautiful singing girl in his home, helps Wang design a set of interlocking stratagems to wipe out the traitor.  Wang first betroths her to Lu Bu and then offers her to Dong Zhuo.  Consequently, the two become enemies due to their desire for Diao Chan.  Wang Yun and Lu Bu devise a scheme to trick Dong Zhuo into going to the court using a false imperial edict, whereupon they kill him.  Lu Bu and Diao Chan are reunited in the end.

In support of the “One Belt One Road” initiative, CIML brought the Mei Lanfang Beijing Opera Performance Tour to Europe and North America. The performance tour was aimed at sharing the essence of Chinese culture and increasing cultural exchange between China and the West, through understanding and cooperation of arts and culture.  The performance toured Canada, the US, Italy and Switzerland, presenting Chinese traditional opera to other cultures.